For mobile communications while travelling, SMS (text messaging) and instant messaging services on computer are the most realistic options. For out of mobile phone range, most satellite phones are suitable for sending and receiving text messages.
If you have limited hearing, a phone with suitable volume control and volume may be an option. Deafness Forum brochure will help you choose. Note that this brochure was printed in 2010 so some things may have been superseded and it may not be up to date with present technology. For example, Window Live Messenger for computers has been discontinued in favour of Skype. The Yahoo messenger is still current.
Australian Hearing has advice on using mobile phones in conjunction with wearing hearing aids such as the T-switch or telecoil. Some mobile phones are hearing aid compatible through the use of your hearing aidsí T-switch or telecoil. This means the phone can connect directly to your hearing aids so you can hear conversations clearly. However, if the surrounding sounds are too noisy then an accessory may be required.
Hearing aids can have a built in Telecoil to receive the phone at the press of a button. Phones with speaker phone function can assist those with hearing loss.
Relay Service is a government initiative to assist people with hearing or speech difficulties by translating text to voice and voice to text to enable conversations between voice and text communications media. There is also the option for a video call (such as via computer) using Auslan (Australian sign language) to be translated to voice and relayed, with the response translated to Auslan to return the reply to the caller.
Emergency services when voice calls to 000 cannot be used
For emergency services there are options for those with limited hearing detailed under Relay Service Emergency Calls. This is a general service to assist hearing impaired and not exclusively for emergencies, so is not the best or quickest way of reaching 000 in an emergency.
Put simply for the totally deaf traveller, the most practical method is SMS to 0423 677 767 which will be relayed to the 000 emergency services centre, but remember this is a general service and does not give priority to emergency calls.
The emergency services number 106 is only for TTY (teletypewriters) so is not a practical option for those touring.